The Centre on Monday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on the issue of deportation of Rohingya Muslims from India and told the apex court that the presence of Rohingyas in the country posed national security threats while pointing out that intelligence inputs suggested links of some Rohingya immigrants with Pak-based terror groups.
It also told the SC that the decision whether or not to allow refugees to settle in the country was best left to the Executive. The Supreme Court had told the government to file the affidavit after a plea was put before it against the deportation of the illegal immigrants to Myanmar.
The Centre said in the apex court: “As far as Rohingyas are concerned, they claimed to have entered from Myanmar using porous border between India and Myanmar. The total number of such illegal immigrants into our country would be more than 40,000 approximately as on date.”
“Rohingya presence in the country has serious national security ramifications and it poses national security threats. Illegal influx of Rohingyas into India started in 2012-13 and inputs suggest links of some of the immigrants with Pak-based terror groups,” it said, adding “There is a serious possibility of eruption of violence against Buddhists who are Indian citizens and who stay on Indian soil by radicalized Rohingyas.”
The Centre said, “Some Rohingyas with militant background were active in Jammu, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mewat and are a potential threat to internal security.”
Taking note of the Centre’s reply, the court has adjourned the hearing in the matter to October 3.
Speaking on the issue earlier on Monday to ANI, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said: “It is a sensitive matter. Whatever Govt of India will do, will be in nation’s interest. Our way forward will be based on nation’s interest & we’ll mention the same in our affidavit to be submitted in the Supreme Court.”
Hitting out at human rights groups’ criticism towards the Centre’s stand on the issue, he said: “I request international human rights’ bodies to not spread misinformation about India and the Indian govt; protecting the nation is our duty.”
The plea was filed by Mohammad Salimullah and Mohammad Shaqir, both Rohingya immigrants, who are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Both the immigrants plea that they escaped Myanmar on account of widespread violence, bloodshed, discrimination and persecution against the Rohingyas.
The plea against deportations was based on grounds of violation of conventions of international human rights. The Home Ministry in July expressed concerns that the Rohingya immigrants pose a challenge to the country’s security and that they may be recruited by terror outfits. The Central Ministry had then directed state governments that they must set up district-level task forces to identify and deport illegal immigrants.
The Centre informed Parliament on August 9 citing data available at the time that there were at least 14,000 Rohingya immigrants registered with UNHCR living in India. The immigrants are spread over Jammu, Hyderabad, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan.
Rohingya immigrants hail from Myanmar’s Rakhine state and according to the prevailing constitutional and political situation in the country, are considered a stateless people.